Christianity vs. Islam

Christianity
Islam

Christianity broadly consists of individuals who believe in the deity Jesus Christ. Its followers, called Christians, often believe Christ is "the Son" of the Holy Trinity and walked the earth as the incarnate form of God ("the Father"); most Christians believe Christ will return at the end of the world. Islam consists of individuals who believe in Allah, a deity whose teachings its followers—Muslims—believe were recorded, verbatim, by the god's last prophet, Muhammad. Though both Christianity and Islam are Abrahamic religions that are mostly or strictly monotheistic, they differ in many ways, and with well over a billion followers within each faith, even adherents' specific beliefs vary considerably by region and sect/denomination.

Comparison chart

Christianity

Christianity

Islam

Islam
About Christianity broadly consists of individuals who believe in the deity Jesus Christ. Its followers, called Christians, often believe Christ is "the Son" of the Holy Trinity and walked the earth as the incarnate form of God ("the Father"). Islam consists of individuals who believe in Allah, a deity whose teachings its followers—Muslims—believe were recorded, verbatim, by the god's last prophet, Muhammad.
Number of Adherents An estimated 2.1 billion, largest religion in the world. An estimated 1.5 billion, second largest religion in the world.
Year Formed 28-33 CE. 610-622 CE.
Place of Origin Roman province of Judea. Arabian Peninsula.
Influenced By Hellenistic Judaism, Jewish folklore, Greco-Roman paganism, monotheistic Zoroastrianism. Judaism, Christianity, monotheistic Zoroastrianism. Customs of the pagan religions of the Arabian Peninsula that already had pilgrimages to Mecca.
Original Languages Aramaic, Common (Koine) Greek, Hebrew. Arabic.
Founders and Early Leaders Jesus, Peter, Paul, James. Muhammad, Abu Bakr.
Primary God(s) A single, all-powerful god known as God that is typically thought of in "trinity" form: God, the Father; Christ, the Son; and the Holy Spirit (or Ghost). Not all sects/denominations of Christianity believe in the Trinity. Only Allah, who is seen as being all-powerful. "They do blaspheme who say: Allah is one of three in a Trinity: for there is no god except One Allah." —Surat Al-Ma'idah 5:73
Spiritual Beings Angels, demons, spirits, nephilim (giants who were the offspring of fallen angels and human women). Angels, demons, spirits, jinn (genies).
Most Common Sects Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant. Sunni, Shia.
Place of Worship Church, chapel, cathedral, basilica, home bible study, personal dwellings. Mosque/masjid, any place which is considered clean by Islamic standards.
Sacred Texts Christian Bible (includes Old and New Testaments). What is considered canon may vary slightly by sect/denomination. Some groups, like Mormons with the Book of Mormon, have other important books, too. While the Qur'an is the only holy text of Islam, the Hadith, which is said to be the sayings of Muhammad, is also highly revered.
Views on Sacred Texts Varies from literal, fundamentalist interpretations, to the belief that the Bible is fallible and filled with metaphors. Varies, but more Muslims than not feel the Qur'an is literally the word of Allah, as passed down through Muhammad.
Important Tenets The Ten Commandments, John 3:16. The Five Pillars of Islam among Sunni Muslims and the Seven Pillars of Islam among Shia Muslims. The Shia Twelvers also have the Ancillaries of the Faith.
Practices Prayer, sacraments (some branches), worship in church, reading of the Bible, acts of charity, communion. Five pillars: Testament that there is one God and Muhammad is his messenger (shahadah); prayer five times daily; fast during Ramadan; charity to the poor (zakat); pilgrimage (Hajj).
Holy Days Christmas (celebration of the birth of Jesus), Good Friday (death of Jesus), Sunday (day of rest), Easter (resurrection of Jesus), Lent (Catholicism), saints' feast days. Ramadan (month of fasting), Eid-ul Adha (feast of the sacrifice), Eid-ul Fitr (sweet festival at the end of Ramadan).
Symbols Cross, ichthys ("Jesus fish"), Mary and baby Jesus. None that are universal, though Muhammad's name in calligraphy is common. The popular star and crescent symbol is also common, but mainly relates to historical and political issues, not necessarily religious ones.
Revered People Varies by sect/denomination. Saints, the Pope, cardinals, bishops, nuns, church pastors, or deacons. Prophets, imams (spiritual leaders).
Religious Law Has existed among Catholics in the form of canon law. Sharia law, or law that is loosely or strictly based on the Qur'an, exists in many countries that have a majority Muslim population. Only some regions with sharia law apply it to judicial or criminal issues.
On Other Religions Many Christians believe all other religions are false. Moderates may or may not believe this. "Be careful to do everything I have said to you. Do not invoke the names of other gods; do not let them be heard on your lips." —Exodus 23:13 Most Muslims believe all other religions are false. "Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day...until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued." —Surat At-Tawbah 9:29
On Atheism Varies. Some believe atheists will go to hell because they do not believe in God; others believe God does not operate that way. "The fool says in his heart, 'There is no God.' They are corrupt, their deeds are vile..." —Psalm 14:1 Varies, but atheism can be very dangerous in some Muslim nations. "O Prophet! strive hard against the unbelievers and the Hypocrites, and be firm against them. Their abode is Hell, an evil refuge indeed." —Surat At-Tawbah 9:73
On Women Varies. Some Christians view women as equal to men, while others believe women should be subservient to men. Clothing and health choices (e.g., birth control, abortion) may be restricted. Old Testament advocates stoning adin some cases. Varies. Some Muslims view women as equal, while others believe women should be subservient. Clothing is usually controlled (e.g., hijab, burqa); health choices may be restricted. Surat An-Nisa 4:34 allows for "light beating" of "disobedient" wives.
On Marriage/Divorce Definition of marriage and divorce acceptance varies by sect/denomination. Bible includes examples of polygamy and monogamy and only condones divorce in cases of adultery. According to the Qur'an, men may marry more than one woman, but no more than four, as long as he can support them and treat them fairly. Divorce easy for men, difficult for women.
On Race All races generally viewed equal in modern Christianity. However, Bible passages on slavery were used to support the practice in the past in the U.S. The "curse of Ham" was sometimes thought to be black skin; modern interpretations reject this. Races generally viewed as equal, but those that accept Islam are viewed more favorably than those that do not. "Among His Signs is the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the variations in your languages and your colors..." —Surat 30:22
On LGBT Varies. Christians who believe in more literal interpretations of the Bible rarely accept homosexuality; some see it as a crime. "Do not be deceived...men who have sex with men...will not inherit the kingdom of God." —1 Corinthians 6:9-10 Varies, but generally homosexuality is not accepted. Verses from the Qur'an condemn it and modern fatwas (Islamic law interpretation) often ban homosexuality as a crime.
On Money Tithing / charitable giving. "Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God." —Jesus in Matthew 19:24 Zakat (charitable giving). "And know that your possessions and your children are but a trial (fitnah) and that surely with Allah is a mighty reward." —Surat Al-'Anfal 8:28
On Clothing Conservative Christians dress modestly; women may cover their heads, wear long skirts or dresses; men may wear dress clothes that do not show the chest, legs, and arms. More moderate or liberal Christians generally reject such clothing restrictions. Women must present themselves modestly to cover hair and body shape. Men must be modestly dressed and covered from waist to knee. In most Muslim culture, women wear a form of the hijab; in some, they must wear the full-body cover known as the burqa.
On Food/Drink Though the Old Testament of the Bible says certain meats should not be consumed, Christians usually feel this information does not apply to them (in the New Testament) and so eat what they want to eat. Muslims are only supposed to eat foods that are considered halal.
On Apocalypse Most, though not all, Christians believe Christ will return during an apocalypse that includes famine, war, and plague. Some Muslims believe Jesus will return at the end of the world; the difference is that they believe his return is a sign, not the actual end. Other Muslims believe Jesus is a minor figure and that Islam's 12th imam, Mahdi, will cleanse the world.
On Afterlife Eternal life in heaven (paradise) or hell (torment). Some Catholics believe in purgatory (limbo, temporary punishment). Eternal life in heaven (paradise) or hell (torment).
View of Jesus God in human form, "Son of God," savior. Death by crucifixion. Most, though not all, of Christians believe Jesus rose from the dead, was taken up into heaven, and will return during an apocalypse. Prophet from Allah whose message has been misinterpreted or corrupted. In Islam, Jesus did not die, but was taken into heaven. A disciple died instead. Some believe Christ will return in an apocalypse, but the significance of his return varies.

Contents: Christianity vs Islam

Early History

In many ways, Christianity and Islam were radical for their times, often preaching tolerance, respect, and equality between different races and classes, despite rigid monotheism. This initial progressive nature resulted in considerable persecution but ultimately did not stop the development, evolution, or expansion of either religion. Ultimately, early Christianity and Islam were spread by exploration, trade, missions, warfare, and colonization.

According to the New Testament, Jesus Christ had a number of followers prior to his execution in Golgotha, but the concept of Christianity as a religion did not truly exist until after his crucifixion, when his most ardent followers, such as the Roman Apostle Paul, began writing and speaking of Christ's reported miracles.

Christianity acquired many of its terms and beliefs from the Hellenistic Judaism and Greco-Roman paganism that were dominant at the times and places of Christianity's earliest development. The Roman Empire, with its common language—Latin—crossing great swaths of land, helped spread Christianity, especially after Emperor Constantine (around 300 CE) converted to the religion, ordered the construction of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, and adopted the cross for his army's banners. To learn more about early Christianity, its development, and the spread of the religion, watch the Crash Course video below.

By the time Islam was formed in 622 CE, Roman Catholicism, the most widespread form of Christianity, already had its 69th Pope—Pope Boniface V. In Mecca, in the Arabian Peninsula where Islam began, there was a melting pot of faith that included Jews, Christians, Zoroastrians, and those who worshipped Mesopotamian gods. It was in this place and time that Muslims believe Muhammad was visited by the angel Gabriel and told to begin writing down the word of the one true god, Allah.

Many in the region saw monotheism as a threat, eventually forcing Muhammad to migrate with his followers from Mecca to Medina in 622 CE in what is known as the Hijra. Most consider this the beginning of Islam as a religion, as the migration brought many new followers to the fledgling faith. In 630 CE, Muhammad and his followers were able to return to Mecca in a near-bloodless conflict.

Murji'ah, an early Islamic philosophy that promoted tolerance of a wide variety of beliefs within Islam (leaving the judgment of Muslims to Allah), likely smoothed the way for early conversions. Within 100 years, Islam had spread rapidly east and west of the Arabian Peninsula. A Crash Course video that covers Islam's development, expansion, and how it split into two main branches can be watched below.

Short Timeline of Christianity and Islam

Note: Dates are historical estimates.

Beliefs and Practices

Major branches of Christianity. Click to enlarge.
Major branches of Christianity. Click to enlarge.

Beliefs and practices among Christians and Muslims vary greatly across the world and among certain demographics. Within Christianity, Catholics and Protestants often have very different beliefs, and Protestantism itself holds denominations as varied as evangelical fundamentalism and Unitarianism. In Islam, similarly large differences exist between Sunni, Shia, and Sufi Muslims and their beliefs. These differences have run so deep that Catholics and Protestants, Sunnis and Shiites, and Christians and Muslims have sometimes warred against each other over their beliefs.

Major branches of Islam. Click to enlarge.
Major branches of Islam. Click to enlarge.

A few major similarities exist between Christians and Muslims. Both belief systems are monotheistic, encourage or require the practice of daily prayer, and believe in the importance of many of the same figures, though their interpretation of them is often very different. Likewise, certain basic principles are generally supported within both faiths: the Ten Commandments for Christians and the The Five or Seven Pillars of Islam for Muslims. Heaven and Hell, angels, demons, and spirits, are generally accepted by both religions, as is an apocalypse.

Similar to Judaism, Islam tends to have stricter guidelines or rules than Christianity does. In modern Christianity, most hardline rules are found in the Old Testament and more related to Judaism, and many of the rules found in the New Testament are downplayed. For example, Christians may or may not "keep the Sabbath holy" by resting, even though doing so is a commandment, and most freely eat whatever they want, including pork and foods not blessed by religious leaders, something that Muslims and Jews do not do under halal and kosher dietary restrictions.

Scriptures

Two of the biggest differences found among Christian sects/denominations when it comes to scripture have to do with how literally the Bible is interpreted, whether it is considered the inerrant word of God as passed down through various writers or seen as being "inspired" and metaphorical, and whether "good works" or "faith alone" is most important for entry into heaven. Some Christians believe the Bible should be at the foundation of all matters: politics, education, charity, etc. Others believe their faith is personal and private and that Christian scripture really only applies to Christians.

Muslims believe there have been many prophets and messengers sent by Allah throughout time, but that their messages have been corrupted by man. They believe Muhammad was the latest and final prophet and that the Qur'an is the only uncorrupted holy message in the world. The vast majority of Muslims believe the Qur'an is the inerrant word of Allah, as passed down through the Prophet Muhammad, and can and should be part of every aspect in life, even when it comes to matters such as banking, warfare, and politics. The governmental enforcement of Islamic beliefs and practices is known as Sharia law. In a 2012 Pew Research study on Muslim political beliefs, a majority of people in Pakistan, Jordan, and Egypt felt laws should strictly follow the Qur'an, while people in Tunisia, Turkey, and Lebanon were less inclined to want their governments to follow the Qur'an.

Christians and Muslims' sociopolitical views often go hand-in-hand with how literally they interpret the Bible or Qur'an, with the most traditional and fundamentalist of both religions rejecting certain matters of gender equality, same-sex marriage, the theory of evolution, etc.

Apocalypse

Belief in an imminent apocalypse that is soon to transpire varies by region among Christians and Muslims, but in many cases both groups do believe it will occur at some point in the future. There are many similarities between their versions of the apocalypse as well, having developed from similar or even the same texts.

Some Muslims believe as Christians do, that Jesus will be the one to return at the end of the world; the difference is that Muslims believe Jesus' return is a sign, not the actual end, and that his purpose is to destroy Christian symbols and convert Christians to the true religion of Islam. Other Muslims, such as the Shia Twelvers, believe Jesus is a minor figure in the apocalypse, if even present, and that a figure known as the Mahdi—Islam's 12th imam who has been hiding since the 9th century—will be the one who returns and helps cleanse the world of evil.

Demographics

With over 2.1 billion followers, over half of which are Catholic, Christianity is the world's largest religion. Islam, with over 1.5 billion followers, is the world's second largest religion; Sunnis make up 80-90% of Islam's adherents. Because the two religions are the largest in the world, one or the other is generally the dominant faith in nearly every country, with a few exceptions in Asia where Buddhism or no religion is dominant.

Maps showing the distribution of Christianity and Islam throughout the world. Click to enlarge.
Maps showing the distribution of Christianity and Islam throughout the world. Click to enlarge.

References

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Comments: Christianity vs Islam

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Anonymous comments (18)

April 20, 2014, 12:35pm

Hurrah, that's what I was seeking for, what a data! present here at this weblog, thanks admin of this web page.

— 46.✗.✗.52
1

March 11, 2012, 4:17am

Dear Morrey, yes I am Christian, & am able to compare & contrast different religions without bias, when necessary.

Without the Lord Jesus, there would be no Christianity. Christianity based on the Teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ, hence, He Is the Founder of Christianity.

Until Muhammad came, Arabs were polytheistic & idolatrous. Muhammad brought monotheism to the arabs, hence he is the founder of Islam.

— 174.✗.✗.67
1

February 17, 2011, 8:29pm

If you take the King James Version of the New Testament to represent the teaching of Christianity
And you take the Hilali/Khan translation of the Quran to represent the teaching of Islam

And you look at the word-probability-ratios of the nouns in those documents, considering nouns that appear in both documents at least four times, the top-10 nouns differentially representing Christianity are:

disciples
brethren
priests
servants
law
saints
sabbath
multitude
flesh
joy

while the top-10 nouns differentially representing Islam are:

messenger(s)
punishment
torment
religion
wrong
recompense
deeds
hereafter
forgiveness
heavens

These lists give the flavor of the differences between the two religions.

— 216.✗.✗.130
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May 28, 2014, 11:04am

Enes you completely took scripture out of context and left out important parts of the verses. In fact that is how satan deceived man from the beginning. He twisted the word of God to deceive eve. This is what your doing now enes.

— 108.✗.✗.194
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May 6, 2014, 7:38pm

I am grateful. this has shown me the differences between us

— 86.✗.✗.181
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April 7, 2014, 5:53pm

I'd like to find out more? I'd want to find out some additional information.

— 89.✗.✗.15
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March 15, 2014, 11:07pm

What will happen if u dont pray five times a day.... forgiven, punished or hell...
Praying is so good, the more the better , i gues! Pray whenever n wherever you want... remember ur God always... followed Him like an ignorant child,dont question. Tats christianity.
But here muslim says jesus is a prophet christians are saying he is God.But u can figure it out. Read the bible with open sincere heart. You might find some hints. Christian brother also should do the same to know muslim more .... but for me, m goin to mars to start a new life..

— 106.✗.✗.71
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March 5, 2014, 5:00pm

Give your lives to Jesus

— 2.✗.✗.53
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February 25, 2014, 6:08pm

Thanks, this really helped me! And to everyone trying to push their beliefs on others, and being rude to other faiths, please, can't we learn to love and tolerate? I'm Catholic, but I have no problem if you don't believe the same thing as me.

— 81.✗.✗.177
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February 19, 2014, 2:11am

Effectively voiced really! .

— 27.✗.✗.107
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January 3, 2014, 9:16am

Jesus said in Gospel of Jhon Ch:16 V:12-15 that one more sarvent will come to the God that is (Muhammed) and Song of Solomon ch:5/6 V:16said his name Muhammed'en' in Hebrews 'en' use to show respect So we should belived in last prophet Muhammed as we belived what bible said.Muslim means 'Submited ones will to God' as it done by Adam...Moses... Jesus and Muhammed.

— 185.✗.✗.14
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October 27, 2013, 3:14pm

I as a Christian feel that it's very important that we learn tolerate each other. I have much respect for Islam, and i won't try and force my beliefs upon anyone. I have friends who are Muslim so it's important to learn how to tolerate others instead of trying to forcing one thing upon everyone. The same goes for every other religion as well as atheists.

— 86.✗.✗.222
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October 10, 2013, 3:42am

whoever wrote this is wrong, self harming is not permissible in Islam. Repenting yes, self harm no.

— 76.✗.✗.82
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September 26, 2013, 1:21am

If someone insulted the person behind the welfare state you would be up in arms, that's what its like for Muslims if you insult Mohammed.

— 31.✗.✗.201
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June 5, 2013, 8:40am

www.usislam.org | www.islamreligion.com | www.whyislam.org

— 76.✗.✗.52
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June 15, 2012, 2:46am

Dear new responder: In the Holy Bible, God Identifies Himself as: the God Of Abraham, the God Of Isaac, and the God Of Jacob, hence Trinity.

As for Adam & Noah: First to whom would Adam be preaching to? He was the first man. Noah similarly would not preach to anyone, as the whole world--with the notable exception of his own family--had been wiped out.

Moses performed the Mighty Works Of God the Father, for the children of Israel, after they fled Egypt; He promised them another Prophet would come to them, and he blessed them with the Spirit Of God.

— 174.✗.✗.206
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April 27, 2011, 1:01pm

whosoever wrote this chart on the differences between christain and muslim is veryyyy wronng...most especially about christianity.please dont write what you dont have good knowledge about.if you are a muslim just write on your religion.and for your information christianity is not a religion,its a life of christ and it means the life we live....we dont just worship on sundays ,we worhip GOD all the time...you can have a personal relationship with GOD,,the purpose of church service and fellowships are because its right to fellowship with one another in faith,so we can learn more of GOD's word and grow in knowledge ,,,and so many other reasons but that does not imply that its just that we are to worship.and when it comes to confession of sins for discipline ,,first you confess your sins to GOD and ask for forgiveness and its also proper to confess your sins one to another in the house hold of faith...my dear there are so much you need to learn about the life of christ ,seek for knowlegde.

— 83.✗.✗.252
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December 8, 2010, 1:57am

all religions whether islam, christianity or Islam, teach the same common rules:

for complete text of the points and other points, please refer the blog:
comparative-religion-points.blogspot.com

(1) Prohibition of Alcohol:- Manu Smriti: 9:235, 11:55; Rig Veda: 8:2:12, 8:21:14; //BIBLE: Proverbs: 20:1, 23:31; Ephesians: 5:18; //QURAN: 2:219, 5:93.

(2) Prohibition of Pork:- //BIBLE: Leviticus 11:7-8; Deuteronomy 14:8; //QURAN: 2:173, 5:4, 6:145, 16:115.

(3) Prohibition of Usury (Interest on Money/Loan/Credit):- Manu Smriti: 11:62, 8:152; //BIBLE: Leviticus 25:36-37; Ezekiel 18:13, 22:12; Psalms 15:5; //QURAN: 2:275, 3:130.

(4) Permission for Non-Vegetarian Food:- Ramayana: 2:20:29, 2:20:17-18; Manu Smriti: 5:30, 39; Mahabharata: 13:88; //BIBLE: Deuteronomy 14:4-6, 14:11; Leviticus 11:3; //QURAN: 5:2, 6:142, 16:5, 23:21.

— 183.✗.✗.183
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